Friday, October 19, 2007
Recreation Commission chooses new full-time director
The Recreation Commission (RecCom) voted this week to offer the new full-time Recreation Director position to Holly Hamilton, who has been the Recreation Director in Chelmsford for the last 14 years.
The decision to offer the job to an outside candidate came after the RecCom interviewed three finalists from Carlisle: current part-time Recreation Department Co-Director Cindy Nock, and long-time residents Marcy Guttadauro and Kim Donovan. Though the group carefully weighed the merits of the local applicants, the RecCom made a "vote for change," according to Chair Allen Deary.
The RecCom board described some of the department's many functions — program development, registration, field maintenance supervision, coordinating field scheduling and finding space to offer indoor programs.
The new director needs good interpersonal skills to work with different town departments, the board agreed, and the job requires someone good with technology as the department continues to process online registrations for its programs.
Being the director can be a difficult job, Deary pointed out. "In business, logical decisions are made," he said, while, "In town government things don't always get done that way." Mark Spears, a 22-year member of RecCom, said he would like to see the new director become active in the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association, a professional organization, to benefit from collaboration with other town recreation departments.
The director needs to continually assess the town's population to decide what programs to offer, what to continue, and what to cancel if they do not draw enough enrollment. One of the challenges for the Recreation Department is to try to "re-sell" less competitive sports for children, said member Dave Moreau, noting the trend away from recreational sports and towards more competitive sports teams for children.
Deary and member Norm Lind said they plan to leave the board next year when their terms expire in 2008. The board said they were concerned the applicants without experience as a director would need more support from the RecCom, which itself will have two members new to the job next year.
RecCom members praised Cindy Nock for the good work she has done running the Recreation Department's programs since she became a co-director in 2002. Norm Lind called Nock's safety record with the Recreation Department "pretty impressive," recalling only one injury during a program in recent years. Nock, who helped to develop the town's swim lesson and summer camp programs in the '80s, worked directly in the summer program for almost 20 years.
The Recreation Department now operates with two part-time employees, Nock and co-director Jan Deyoe. Along with the full-time director, the RecCom estimates that one additional part-time employee is needed to efficiently run the department. Deary expects a transitional period once the new director starts the job. At this time it is unclear who will take the part-time position.
Eagle Scout project
In other business, the Recreation Commission approved up to $2,500 from their gift account for a project to put descriptive signs at the exercise equipment area near the upper parking lot at the Banta-Davis Land off Bedford Road. The signs will show how to do different exercises at the health stations. Several red maple trees will also be planted at Banta-Davis as part of the project. High school senior Drew Lockwood will complete the work for his Eagle Scout project to attain the Boy Scouts' highest achievement level.
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